Parenting is not easy. It might seem that just yesterday your kids were running around the house with their favorite toys, laughing their heads off. You knew their favorite color, food, and TV shows. It’s natural for you to wonder what on earth happened to turn those joy-bubbles into scowling teenagers who keep rolling their eyes and slamming doors.
Only heaven can know, and that certainly doesn’t make your job any easier. With that said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do about it! As a parent, it’s your job to realize that your teenagers are going through the biggest transformative period of their lives; they’re changing on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. In order to give them the support and care they need, here are 6 things parents of teenage kids should know.
1. Your Teenager is Not a Child Anymore
In comparison to your decades of experience, it certainly feels that your teenager is still a child. However, keep in mind that adolescence is the transitional period between childhood and adulthood. This is the phase where they build their personalities and get to experience the first glimpses of real life. Treating them like children will only trigger their rebellious spirits or, worse, hinder their progress. During this period, you should gradually give them more responsibilities. Help them realize the meaning of responsibility by giving them the space to make decisions and mistakes. This will then encourage them to face the consequences of their actions.
2. Your Teenager Has a Right to Privacy
There’s a fine line between giving your teenage kids space and watching over them. Giving them too much space without adequate guidance can let them go astray while micromanaging everything they do will suffocate them. Both parenting methods can backfire and that is why you need to walk this fine balance. It’s important to remember, first and foremost, that your teenager has the right to their own privacy. Don’t try to snoop around their phones and belongings as that will only drive you further apart. For example, if you believe your child has a fake ID, don’t go snooping in their belongings, but instead, search online (more here) about how they might have gone about purchasing one. Let them know that you respect their privacy and won’t interfere unnecessarily without their consent – even though it can be extremely tempting!
3. Building Trust is Better Than Forcing an Order
So, does that mean that you can’t interfere with your teenager’s life unless they open up to you? Well, yes and no. At face value, yes, you shouldn’t interfere with their life without their consent. What you can do, though, is create mutual trust so they can be comfortable enough to share their worries, thoughts, and actions with you. Although it takes more time and effort, letting them seek your advice out of trust is a million times more effective than forcing an order on them. At least that way, if you do force orders for a serious matter, they’ll understand it’s for their own good.
4. You Should Still Trust Your Instincts
Giving your teenagers the space to make their own decisions is necessary to grow their personalities, but that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye if you find them walking down the wrong path. Once you find signs pointing toward a disastrous road, like using drugs, smoking, or hanging out with the wrong crowd, you should definitely trust your instincts and investigate. Many parents opt for using a fentanyl urine test to confirm their suspicions of drug use, but that can be tricky. For starters, low-quality tests can give false results, not to mention it can destroy the relationship with the teenager. In this regard, it’s best to consult a professional about the best way to confront the teenager because you don’t want to burn bridges.
5. You’ll Need to Talk About Serious Matters
There comes a time when you’ll have to put aside your embarrassment and have “The Talk” with your teenager. Don’t hesitate to enlighten them about sex, hormones, and the physical changes they’re going through. They’ll know all about it sooner or later, so it’s better they learn about it from you than from the shady sources on the internet.
6. You’ll Need Patience
Finally, keep in mind that this period is just as confusing for your teenagers as it is exhausting for you. They’ll be days when they straight up reject your advice and good intentions. They’ll rebel and make the wrong decisions on purpose. You’ll lose your temper and regret it later. That’s all normal; just have patience and always keep looking for the best way to show your support and care.
Just because we were raised in a certain manner doesn’t mean our parents’ parenting methods were the best. We’ve lived long enough to know that childhood trauma grows with us and affects our adulthood. In order to raise our kids better than we [potentially] were, we also have to put in the effort to know and do better. The next time your teenager annoys the living hell out of you, take a deep breath and remember that they still need your guidance.